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New park takes shape in place of former boatyard in Dingle

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All our own work... Kerry County Council workers with Area Engineer Tara and General Services Manager Denis 'Diony' O'Connor in the Boatyard park on the Quay, as work neared completion last Thursday. Photo by Declan Malone

All our own work... Kerry County Council workers with Area Engineer Tara and General Services Manager Denis 'Diony' O'Connor in the Boatyard park on the Quay, as work neared completion last Thursday. Photo by Declan Malone

Pat Devane and Tom O'Connor floating the freshly poured concrete paths around the new waterfront park in the Quay. Photo by Declan Malone

Pat Devane and Tom O'Connor floating the freshly poured concrete paths around the new waterfront park in the Quay. Photo by Declan Malone

Dingle boatyard, disused and falling apart, in 1994.

Dingle boatyard, disused and falling apart, in 1994.

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All our own work... Kerry County Council workers with Area Engineer Tara and General Services Manager Denis 'Diony' O'Connor in the Boatyard park on the Quay, as work neared completion last Thursday. Photo by Declan Malone

kerryman

After many years of doubt and dispute about its future and how it should be used, the boatyard site will begin a new life this week as a public park, opening Strand Street to the waterfront that has long been hidden from view.

The park was initially planned by Kerry County Council as a ‘public realm and outdoor dining area’ and designed to that specification by a firm off consulting engineers. However, that design which included hoardings that would have separated the park from both the sea and the street, was modified by local council staff to make it into an area that would better suit the needs of the people of Dingle.

The council’s Dingle area General Services supervisor Denis ‘Diony’ O’Connor and Local Area Engineer Tara O’Carroll reduced the expanse of concrete and paving in the original plan and put grassy areas in its place. Under the pergolas that are intended to serve as public dining areas they changed the design of the concrete to create the pebbled effect of the old gravel footpaths in Dingle.

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And in a nod to the site’s previous function as a boatyard, Denis designed a Valentia slate water feature with an etching of a fishing trawler of the kind that were built in Dingle.

The job, which was funded under Fáilte Ireland’s Outdoor Dining Scheme and Kerry County Council, in close co-operation with the Dept of the Marine, was initially put out to tender. However, it was later decided that, apart from erecting the pergolas, it would be more cost effective to have the work done by the council’s own local staff who have all the necessary skills in working with stone and concrete.

The end result is an example of the quality of work that local council staff can do, and as the entire crew worked flat-out laying paths and grass areas before the weekend they were proud of what they have achieved.

Tara told The Kerryman that the site originally laid out for the park was extended with the co-operation and agreement of the Department of the Marine and the design was then modified locally in “an organic process on site”.

“Denis made alterations, removing the hoarding that would have blocked the park from both the street and the sea and he included a grassed area… where we will have a ‘walk on the grass’ policy,” Tara told The Kerryman.

“I love it, it’s fabulous, it turned out better than expected from the original plans and it is a better amenity for the people of Dingle,” said Tara who added her thanks to Denis, the council workers, and to the Department of the Marine for their co-operation “for the good of the people of Dingle”.


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